(ABOVE: image courtesy of Lime)
Just days after the 25th anniversary of the OJ chase, Hoboken had its own wheeled pursuit to contend with.
On Wednesday, June 19, Hoboken Police Sgt. Nicholas Burke observed 35-year old Carl Mattson of Edison riding an E-Scooter opposite the flow of traffic, then strike a pedestrian in the crosswalk. As Sgt. Burke tended to the pedestrian who appeared to have had an injured ankle, Mattson fled the scene—continuing to ride away opposite the flow of traffic. He ignored Sgt. Burke’s orders to stop, and was eventually apprehended a short distance away by other officers.
According to statistics from Lime, the San Francisco-based firm that runs one of two scooter services that have been available in Hoboken since the May 20 launch, more than 21,500 unique riders have taken more than 66,500 rides—the highest ridership per scooter in Lime’s markets around the world over that period.
“The popularity of e-scooters in Hoboken has been astounding,” said Phil Jones, Senior Director of East Coast Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships at Lime. “E-scooters are changing the way people commute and are reducing the dependence on cars in the Mile Square City. Lime’s resounding success in Hoboken is proof that the rest of the Tri-State area would benefit from having greater access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable micro-mobility options.”
Nevertheless, opposition to the scooters remains significant and vocal. A recent Rutgers study, published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology, concludes that facial and head injuries from riding electric scooters have tripled over the past decade, highlighting the need for standardized safety policies and licensing for electric scooters nationwide. A fairly steady rumble on Hoboken’s social media seems to echo those concerns, with hundreds of anecdotal complaints to date of various safety violations.
According to Lime, the City of Hoboken and Hoboken Police Department are working closely together on educating riders on how to ride scooters safely and properly.
“Illegal use of a scooter is unacceptable, and the rule of law must be followed at all times to prevent unfortunate incidents like this,” said a spokesperson from Lime. “We commend the Hoboken Police Department and their officer for his quick action, and will continue to work with them and the city to educate the public on how to operate scooters and ensure safe streets for all.”
Yesterday’s arrest is the first scooter-related arrest in Hoboken. After an initial honeymoon period immediately following the May 20th launch, there have been over a dozen summonses issued as of this date.
The six-month Hoboken scooter pilot program runs through mid-November 2019, at which point the future of the program will be assessed.